Spring Calving Cow Herd • Study the performance of last year's calf crop and plan for improvement. Plan your breeding program and consider a better herd sire(s). Select herd sires which will allow you to meet your goals and be willing to pay for superior animals. • Consider vaccinating the cows to help prevent calf scours. • Keep replacement heifers gaining to increase the probability of puberty occurring before the start of the spring breeding season. • Start cows on the high magnesium mineral supplement soon. Consider protein supplementation if hay is less than 10% crude protein. If cows are thin, begin energy (grain) supplementation now. Cows must reach a body condition score of 5 before calving to maximize their opportunity for reproductive success. Supplementation now allows adequate time for cows to calving in adequate body condition score. • Get ready for the calving season! See that all equipment and materials are ready, including obstetrical equipment, record forms or booklets, eartags, scales for obtaining birthweights, etc. Prepare a calving area where assistance can be provided easily if needed. Purchase ear tags for calves and number them ahead of time if possible. Plan for enough labor to watch/assist during the calving period. • Move early calving heifers and cows to pastures that are relatively small and easily accessible to facilities in case calving assistance is needed. Keep them in good condition but don't overfeed them at this time. Increase their nutrient intake after they calve. Fall Calving Cow Herd • Provide clean windbreaks and shelter for young calves. • Breeding season continues. Keep fall calving cows on accumulated pasture as long as possible, then start feeding hay/grain/supplement. Don’t let these cows lose body condition! • Catch up on castrating, dehorning and implanting. Cooperative Extension Service University of Kentucky Beef IRM Team Each article is peer-reviewed by UK Beef IRM Team and edited by Dr. Les Anderson, Beef Extension Specialist, Department of Animal & Food Science, University of Kentucky General • Feed hay in areas where mud is less of a problem. Consider preparing a feeding area with gravel over geotextile fabric or maybe a concrete feeding pad. Bale grazing is an option for producers to help control mud while spreading nutrients across pastures. • Increase feed as the temperature drops, especially when the weather is extremely cold and damp. When temperature drops to 15°F, cattle need access to windbreaks. • Provide water at all times. Cattle need 5 to 15 gallons per head daily even in the coldest weather. Be aware of frozen pond hazards. Keep ice "broken" so that cattle won't walk out on the pond trying to get water. Automatic waterers, even the “frost-free” or “energy-free” waterers can freeze up in extremely cold weather. Watch closely. • Consider renovating and improving pastures with legumes, especially if they have poor stands of grass or if they contain high levels of the fescue endophyte. Purchase seed and get equipment ready this month.